This is an experience unlike any others you'll have. My husband and I traveled here Nov/Dec 2009 and had a wonderful vacation and came away having made new friends with Ann and Gary and all the staff, who went so far out of their way to make sure we had a memorable trip.
Being scuba divers - and personally interested in WWII - our main goal was to dive the USS Coolidge and other WWII wreck sites. Long story short - if you're a diver - this is a must do! And the perfect spot to stay was Aore Resort (very close to dive sites), and we were also pleased we used the dive shop associated with the resort - again, we became friends with the dive guides and boat captains, and my husband and I had a dive guide all to ourselves for every dive - something you rarely get! I know Allan Powers is the big dive shop on the island, however, we noticed they had lots of people diving the wrecks. This is such a different type of dive that it is highly recommended you have individual attention.
When we weren't diving, we had a whole island (and coconut plantation behind the resort) to explore on our own. One day we hiked around (and found WWII bunkers) and another time we used the bikes provided by Aore , free of charge, and got to explore a little more, even meeting a few cows lazing in the forest along the way. We also snorkeled on our own off the dock at Aore, hung out in the pool, and otherwise had a chance to spend some time together, relax, and soak up life in Vanuatu.
Ann and Gary have found a way to strike that balance by providing amenities that people want (hot showers, drinkable water, fresh, homemade food that varied everyday) while on vacation yet making sure it still had that feel that you were truely a million miles from home.
Worth noting - you do not need to take malaria meds if you're just going to Santo.
For those concerned with the extensive travel to get here (we live outside of Baltimore, MD), it's well worth it. My husband (who doesn't have much patience for long plane rides, layovers in airports, etc) told our dive group that he'll be back to dive the Coolidge.
To break up our travel home, we took an extra few days in Auckland, New Zealand, which was a good idea.
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- Also Known As:
- Aore Island Hotel Espiritu Santo
- Aore Resort Santo
- Aore Hotel Santo